Share this on Twitter Share this on Facebook Share this on LinkedIn Share this on Sina Weibo Share this on Wechat Share this on LinkedIn Ma Jian is an acclaimed, Chinese-born writer who lives in exile in London. His debut novella, Stick Out Your Tongue, published in 1987, led to the permanent ban on his books being published or sold in China. Since then, he has written four collections of stories, essays and six novels, including Beijing Coma, winner of the Index of Censorship Book Award. After the 2012 publication of The Dark Road, he was barred from visiting China. Ma was born in Qingdao, in northeast China, and early in his career, performed in a theatre troupe and worked as a painter and photojournalist. His most recent novel, China Dream, was published in 2018. He lives with his partner Flora Drew, who translates his novels into English, and their four children. This interview with him was conducted in Mandarin and translated into English. Ma JianIllustration by Lauren Crow Q: How did you first become interested in writing? A: I remember one evening, when Mao Zedong initiated the Cultural Revolution,Subscribe or register to read the rest. Registered users can access a limited amount of content for free.Subscribers get full access to: Exclusive longform investigative journalism, Q&As, news and analysis, and data on Chinese business elites and corporations. We publish China scoops you won't find anywhere else. A weekly curated reading list on China from David Barboza, Pulitzer Prize-winning former Shanghai correspondent for The New York Times. A daily roundup of China finance, business and economics headlines. We offer discounts for groups, institutions and students. Go to our Subscriptions page for details.